Saturday, January 03, 2009

Roll Over Lay Down? Not The Quo

I'm a believer in fate and there was another spooky example of it yesterday. While the girls visited The Outlaws I stayed at home in the Kingdom and prepared my next two hospital radio shows*. While taking a well-earned break and attempting for the umpteenth time to gain Two Stars on some of the Super Mario Karts courses on the Wii I get a phone call from Claire Smith at The Scotsman. The PRS have issued a statement about Status Quo being the hardest work band in the UK in 2008 and would I like to pen a 300-word piece on their enduring appeal? "When do you want it?", I enquire. "Oh, about an hour!!"

Needless to say I knocked off 300 words fairly quickly although I was somewhat held up by trying to verify just who had had the most appearances on Top of the Pops. I knew The Quo had had a lot but I'd also heard that Sir Cliff of Richard has done quite a few too. Depending on which source you use The Quo have had either 106 or 87. As the former seemed more likely I went with that. Memo to self: "Find out just who has had the most Top of the Pops appearances"

Not having written for a wee I went "over budget" and did an extra 50 words and not surprisingly, it was edited down. The published piece is HERE and my original piece is below:

"When you think of Status Quo there are several images that immediately spring to mind; pub rockers head banging to the same few chords, denim and ponytails (a fashion faux pas in any era) and a band that seems to have been around since time immemorial.

It’s easy to knock Status Quo but, like Kerry Katona at a buffet, they keep coming back for more. And so do their fans, in droves. But why? Not for them is the constant reinvention of a U2 or a Prince, for them it’s a course steady and true of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” variety. And yet they weren’t always twelve-bar boogie metronomes. Those with long memories will recall that it wasn’t always thus as they started out as Freakbeaters The Spectres, who then morphed into the acid-laden psychedelic rockers Traffic Jam. So how is it that these rock behemoths are still with us and still packing out auditoriums worldwide?

The answer is simple. They love what they do and their fans, who worship the ground they rock on, love what they do. (In 2005 the band were voted Best Festival Feel Good Act by the UK Festival Awards). Sure, they’re not bothering the scorers on the Top 40 anymore but why should they care when they’ve had over 60 hit singles in the UK and numerous more around the globe? (Does anyone care about the charts anymore?) They’ve lived the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle to excess and back we love them because they’re survivors who have lived to tell the tale. Maybe the cool people wouldn’t be seen dead at one of their gigs or buying any of the records but don’t we all have at least one favourite Status Quo track. (For the record, mine is “Down Down”.)

Last December they even released their first ever Christmas single and yes, even if you didn’t know the artist, it was easy to work out, through the ubiquitous sleigh bells, that it was Status Quo. Never has a band been more aptly named. Long live The Quo.


75 – “It’s Christmas Time”, which reached number 40, is their 75th UK single.
106 – Status Quo holds the record for the most appearances by a group on Top of the Pops
34 – The number of years Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt have been together in Status Quo
50 – Top 40 hits in the UK singles chart
22 – Top 10 hits in the UK singles chart
1 – Number 1 hits in the UK singles chart (Down Down)"

As Claire Smith, the author of the main piece, so succinctly put it, "Welcome to the humiliating world of the professional writer". Professional? At least she gets paid! I enjoy the buzzing of seeing something I've written in print but it would be nice to get some money for it once in a while. Not that I consider myself any great shakes in that department (that's for others to judge) but the time and effort has been put in. It's so much more enjoyable than what I do just now, even if it doesn't pay the mortgage. You'll see on The Scotsman I've added a comment (number 4) at the bottom of the story, just to clarify how "big" a Quo fan I am.

I can't sit here blowing my own French Horn, there's Things To Do lists to be gone through. I've also done some minor housekeeping on my Blog as Apprentice of the Universe seems to have disappeared so I've replaced him with "I'm Not Always So Stupid", which I read for the first time recently.

I tried to do some housekeeping on my Outlook last night/this morning but it all seem to go wrong so I gave up. Windows Mail seems to be the upgraded version of Outlook but I'll wait until a passing geek wanders into my street.

Peace out...

The Cat

* If you're ever involved in a non-fatal accident in the Kirkcaldy you can tune into my show on 1287 AM within the Victoria Hospital. I'm on every Sunday night between 5 and 7pm playing mod soul (northern/southern/Motown) and alternative pop from the late 50s through to the early 70s. Apparently the sound "leaks" out beyond the hospital grounds and can be heard in other parts of Fife but I don't know if that's true (and I didn't tell you that ;)).


Sky Clearbrook said...

A very enjoyable piece if I say so myself. I always like how self-effacing Rossi and Parfitt are when they're being interviewed. I'm still a big fan of Pictures Of Matchstick Men and Down The Dustpipe.

At least you seem to have got your "foot in the door" with The Scotsman; is there any chance they might start paying you for contributions?

Bright Ambassador's most recent (and current!) blog is Modern Gutnish.

All the best in 2009.

Bright Ambassador said...

Thanks for the link, Sky.

I had to delete the last blog for 'blogging differences' reasons. Hopefully I'll be sticking with Gutnish.

Quo ALWAYS knew the value of a good intro - see Down Down, Whatever You Want and Caroline.